Confirmed: BBC Worldwide IS Completing Doctor Who: Shada Using Animation!

The rumours have been around for some time, but finally, we have confirmation: the BBC Worldwide is to release Shada, Douglas Adams’ unbroadcast Fourth Doctor serial, on DVD, steelbook Blu-ray, and digital download, combining original live-action footage with hand-drawn animation!

In 1979, Shada, directed by Pennant Roberts, was due to conclude Doctor Who Season 17; but industrial action meant scenes to be shot in the BBC studios were never filmed, and the serial left uncompleted. Footage survived, however, and the DWC has previously looked at its first public airing, at a convention in the Philadelphia area, America; a few attempts to release the story have been made, including a version with linking narration by the Doctor himself, Tom Baker, and a DVD, paired with More Than 30 Years in the TARDIS.

Now, 39 years after it was first abandoned, Shada is to be completed, combining the original, remastered footage, with brand new colour animation to complete the story. The animation will feature the newly-recorded voices of the original cast, including Tom Baker as the Doctor and Lalla Ward as Romana, performing the original script.

Shada will be released first as a digital download on Friday 24th November 2017, and subsequently on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday 4th December 2017.

You’ll notice that Adrian Salmon, Doctor Who Magazine illustrator and a friend of the DWC’s, provides the beautiful, wraparound art for the steelbook – and worked on the animation too!

Tom Baker remembers:

“Shada was one of my favourite Doctor Who stories. I have many fond memories of shooting the location scenes in Cambridge, and it was disappointing not to finish the story in studio. I’m so glad that BBC Worldwide have found a way to bring fans a complete visual version.”

Shada is being produced by the same team behind the critically acclaimed animation of The Power of the Daleks and the similarly-lost Dad’s Army episode, A Stripe For Frazer. The team have had access to nearly 7 hours of raw footage from the original shoot from which they are editing the new production from scratch, with all the original film negatives re-scanned in full HD and digitally remastered.

Physical releases will come with these special features:

  • Taken Out of Time (25′ 39″)
  • Now and Then (12′ 45″)
  • Strike, Strike, Strike! (27′ 50″)
  • Studio Sessions – 1979 (44′ 38″)
  • Dialogue Sessions (14′ 16″)
  • Model Filming (04′ 36″)
  • Deleted Scenes (01′ 22″)
  • Title Sequence Films (TBC)
  • Live Action Reference Footage (02′ 48″)
  • 1979 Gallery (04′ 50″)
  • 2017 Gallery (02′ 52)

Paul Hembury, Executive Producer, BBC Worldwide says:

“Fans loved The Power of the Daleks, so we’re delighted to be able to complete and bring them another lost Doctor Who classic.”

Furthermore, on Saturday 2nd December, there will be a special screening of this new Shada production at BFI Southbank, London. Further information will be available from from Monday 23rd October. Tickets for BFI members will be available from Tuesday 7th November, and for the public from Tuesday 14th November.

Naturally, the DWC will cover this release in full, so stay tuned!

Shada will be released as a digital download on Friday 24th November, and then on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday 4th December. Pre-order on EST from iTunes and the DVD from Amazon.

  • Rick714

    Gotta say—-if they were going to animate another classic, they should have gone with Marco Polo or another Hartnell or Troughton. Shada? Eh, this may come back to bite them if the sales aren’t what they should be.

    • reTARDISed

      They’ll plaster the cover with stickers saying “by Douglas Adams”, or somesuch.

  • FrancoPabloDiablo

    I can’t remember exactly but a few of the Special Features sound like ones that are already included in the Legacy Box Set release. And I agree with Rick, if they are going to animate something why not a completely lost story from either Hartnell’s or Troughton’s tenure. We already have had the VHS release of Shada with linking narration by Baker, The web animation with McGann and the previously mentioned Legacy Box Set release. I can only assume that with a lot of the scenes filmed already it boils down to money. Less for them to animate. Still, seems like a missed opportunity to finally view a lost classic.

    • ColeBox

      I dunno about the money side… Yes, they’ve got a lot less to animate, but then they’ve also got the original cast together to provide the soundtrack, for the unfilmed bits, and presumably re-create Deadly Dudley’s music.

      • FrancoPabloDiablo

        Regardless of whether money has anything to do with it, we’ve had Shada released so many times in the past. I just don’t understand the reasoning. I, personally, would rather rush to buy an animated lost story and not yet another Shada release.

        • ColeBox

          I wonder if the anticipated attraction for this is that it’s a Tom Baker? It’s no secret that he’s the most popular of the classic Doctors and I suspect the call of the dollar may have helped. From the advertising on BBC America last year, Power was a bit of a draw. A *new* Tom Baker would be more so.

  • reTARDISed

    I might give this one a go (I remember enjoying the script book enclosed with the 1990s VHS). I remain unconvinced that a completely animated Hartnell historical would sell well. We tried watching the Power of the Daleks animated version: some animation was dangerously weak, and reminiscent of the old Captain Pugwash (before then, I’d never twigged how similar the Pugwash and DW themes actually are!…), with characters moving crabwise across the screen. I’m one of those rare people that prefers soundtrack and telesnaps. Perhaps a mixture of animation and live action will work for Shada: not too much animation before we return to live action? Alternatively, it could jar greatly. We shall see.

    • FrancoPabloDiablo

      Maybe Evil Of The Daleks might have been the next logical step after Power.

      • The Lazy Womble

        I hope not. I like Evil of the Daleks.

    • bar

      I agree about telesnaps – a hated poor animation as a kid, when the characters’ feel didn’t connect with the ground, but waggled about as the figure slid across the scenery. Arghhh.
      And now I’ve got the Captain Pugwash Sound of Drums Remix stuck in my head, thanks. 😉

  • ColeBox

    Whereas it would have been nice to have something like Evil of the Daleks, I’m not going to complain about the chance to see Shada in its entirety. I haven’t watched the Tom Baker linked version since its VHS release, but I seem to recall that the entire climax to the story was all narrated. It didn’t work for me. Therefore, I am quite looking forward to this.

    But of course, this doesn’t mean that Evil of the Daleks is never going to happen.

  • reTARDISed

    Having heard the sad news about Dudley Simpson, it’s a great shame that he never got the chance to compose for this serial. The squawkings, squeaks and tweedling produced by Keff McCulloch for the narrated 1990s video were simply toxic, and I hope the incidental music has been redone for this new release.